Discussion in 'The War at Sea' started by Miller phpbb3, Jan 26, 2007.
what do you think would've happened if Japan won the battle of Midway?
The battle of Midway was the point where the Americans gained some sort of parity with the Japanese in terms of fleet carriers. If the Japanese had won I’m sure that the opposite would be true until the American industry could catch up.The US would have to go on the defensive in the Pacific. It may have been unlikely that the Americans would have attempted to attack Guadalcanal. The US may have been forced to abandon their ‘Germany First’ policy. That would have been trouble for Europe. A loss at Midway would have drawn out the was considerably.
Could you define "won"?
Eliminated all 3 US CVs?
Occupied Midway Island?
Both of the above?
Not a great deal would have changed in all honesty. The USN takes a little while longer before going onto the offensive in order to build a few extra carriers to make up for those lost, Guadalcanal happens maybe 1943/44 instead. After this point Japan is solidly on the defensive.
Once the US has captured an island within B-29 range of Japan it's all pretty much over apart from the shouting. Enola Gay and Bocks Car carry out their historic missions roughly on time, maybe a few months delay to allow the main bomber forces to soften up Japan's air forces a bit more and mass firebombings continue to destroy japanese cities at a collosal rate (And bear in mind that the firebombing raids often caused greated loss of life than either Atomic bomb mission). Japan surrenders by Spring 46 at the absolute latest. The Soviet Union possibly takes advantage of this to take a bit more Japanese territory.
After its capture Midway Atoll becomes largely militarily irrelevant. As a staging point for an invasion on Hawaii it is basically useless since by the point of the Midway operation defences at Hawaii were simply much too strong for the Japanese to be able to overcome.
Midway is either abandoned probably within 6 months of its capture, or lightly garissoned and used as a seaplane base until recaptured largely as a symbolic gesture as soon as the US can be bothered to bomb it into submission.
Sounds to me like you've got it pretty well summed up, Simon. Even before the battle, officers of both navies were wondering just how Yamamoto planned on keeping Midway supplied once Japan had occupied it. Yamamoto's staff never came up with a satisfactory answer to that question, BTW.
yup ..especially with the desalineization water plant broke down...wink
:lol: :lol: :lol:
That should have been a warning not to attack the island :grin:
What a way to avenge Pearl Harbour.
I still consider Midway as 5 minutes of pure luck. The Americans always tell about how ingenius their strategy was. Forcing the jap planes down to make an opening for the dive bombers. Come on, the torpedobombers where the first to be launched, there was no strategy. Plus, the jap planes were refueling on the deck. 5 minutes earlier, the American wave was shot down, five minutes later, the planes were going to be shot down. Just pure luck.
Credit where credit is due: American carrier doctrine put little emphasis on strike coordination, so the unsupported attack by the torpedo planes was a direct outgrowth of that practice. But likewise, the rapid dispatch of multiple squadrons was part of the same system. The Americans didn't necessarily need torpedo bombers to clear the way for the dive bombers, as was shown when the Japanese were surprised by bombers in the Indian Ocean. The IJN was still relying on visual means to detect incoming threats. To do this, they had to assume rather open ship formations with CAP fighters basically on their own. The Americans successfully overloaded Japanese defenses just as they would hope to do. There isn't adequate support for a claim that 5 minutes either way would have foiled the attack.
It was luck, yes, but not just pure luck--just like so many other battles. See Shattered Sword by Parshall and Tully or Wildenberg's article "Midway: Sheer Luck or Better Doctrine?"
I have never heard anyone claim the US performance at Midway was down to amazing tactical genius least of all the Americans themselves, the only claims I have heard about Midway was that the US success was a result in roughly equal measures to the bravery and self-sacrfice of the Torpedo bombers, the skill of the dive bombers, the incompetence of the Japanese fighter controllers allowing their entire CAP to be pulled down to wavetop height and not least of which a large degree of luck.
That the Torpedo bombers were the first to be launched was standard with TBDs, the Devastators were the slowest and shortest legged of the carrier planes at that point, they needed to set off first so that they didn't burn valuable fuel trying to play catch up with the VFs and VS/VBs. Not to mention that neither Hornet, Yorktown or Enterprise's strikes were even attempting to co-ordinate with the Army, Marine and Navy fliers from the Atoll.
The catastrohpy on the Japanese carriers had little to do with the fighters being refuelled, but much more to do with the quantities of fuel, bombs and torpedos improperly stored on the hangar decks (Where the most devastating bomb hits struck, and where the secondary explosions from the ordinance wiped out most of the firefighting teams) and this was entirely thanks to Nagumo's dithering over the whether to order an anti-ship mission or a second strike against Midway Atoll.
In any case, 5 minutes later wouldn't have made a huge difference, any Zekes being rearmed would still have had to make it to about 20,000ft from sea level and started shooting down SBDs which would have taken about another 5 minutes on top, by which point the first US bombs would already be exploding in the Kaga's hangars.
Given the numbers of SBDs it seems unlikely that anything other than maintaining a dedicated portion of the CAP at altitude would have proven decisive.
Whether it's tactical genius or all the US guys were carrying four-leaf clovers and horseshoes with them, that blow crippled Japan's naval capabilities, since even Yamato couldn't survive an air strike without air cover.
The implication is that there were men in charge of directing the fighters. Administratively, there was an officer on each carrier whose duties included, among many other things, fighter direction. In reality, the CAP pilots pretty much directed themselves. When a ship spotted incoming planes, it would emit smoke or fire its guns toward the attack in order to get the CAP's attention. The pilots then made their own decisions with little oversight or input to help vector them.
Probably very difficult for someone on the ground without decent radar (or any radar at all) to have the 'big picture' necessary to offer any meaningful control. Pilots have the problem of limited visablility and other tasks (like flying the plane). Probably the best bet would have been dedicated top and bottom cover. Not ideal but without radar probably the best that is technically achievable.
The Japanese got caught in the lag time between the introduction of more powerful aircraft angines (the speed of attacking planes saw a big increase) and the introduction of radar (which they failed to capitalize on anyway). At no time in the pacific War did the IJN come to understand the significance of radar-assisted fighter vectoring. Their planes would get intercepted up to 100 miles from the target, getting chewed to pieces all the way in, and they still never understood what was happening.
If dead men tell no tails, then they certainly don't fill out after action reports.
And the late Gordon W. Prange's "Miracle At Midway". The American performance is described thare as "brilliance shot through with luck". This book also notes just how close-run a thing the battle was, and gives proper notice of American mistakes and fighting flaws. Just as an example, American bombing marksmanship at Midway is described as "abominable". The account is about as balanced as possible, IMHO, with the pros and cons of both sides's performance being carefully examined.